I was pressurized by politicians to stay in office ― General Abubakar – Vanguard
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar has said that his Transition programme to civilian rule about 22 years ago would have been truncated if he had succumbed to pressure from some Nigerians notably politicians who pressurised him to extend his stay in office.
General Abubakar who took over from the interim government headed by Chief Earnest Shonekan had promised to hand over to a Democratically elected Civilian government after nine months in the office which he did.
Answering questions from Journalists in his uphill residence in Minna, Niger state, the former Head of State said there was no pressure from any quarters to hurriedly hand over to the Civilians but rather, the were pressures mounted on him to elongate his stay in office.
“There was no pressure on me to handover to the civilians from any quarters but on the contrary, some Nigerians especially the politicians were asking me to prolong my stay because at first when I said we were going to handover, nobody believed where the Military was going but when they realised that we were leaving and because their fingers have been burnt twice because that was not the first time the Military would be saying it was going so the politicians hesitated to participate in the political activities.
“However, It was when they saw that we really meant business that they now came and back and they were saying why don’t you prolong your stay so that we can now be part and parcel of the upcoming democracy in the country.
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“So we were not pressurised besides the normal agitation of the then various groups who were asking the military to go,” Abdulsalami declared.
According to him, “I have no regret to have handed over to the Civilians but rather, I am fulfilled by handing over power to a democratically elected government because today, Nigeria is being asked by the International community to safeguard democracy especially when the era of coup is gradually coming back into West Africa and Africa as a whole”, he remarked.
“It is possible for some to say this is not the democracy we want but again I will say Nation-building is a continuous process and I believe that as we go on, our politics will change.
“I want to believe that our electorate are now better informed and I pray and hope that in the next election, they will not sell their voters cards, they will not sell their dignity to allow their voters’ cards to be bought and thus allowing democracy to further flourish,” he declared.
On the frequent agitations across the country especially on secession, General Abubakar called on the present administration to look into their demands and bring everybody on board.
“There should be equity, fair play and equal representations of all the Regions in governance in order to allow all Nigerians have a sense of belonging in the country and by so doing, the various agitations will be killed”.
Vanguard News Nigeria